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June 27, 2005

Notes from the Mojo Lounge 6/25/05

Down the freeway to the Mojo Lounge. I’d long wanted to go there, the Tuesday Night Jams there always sounded good from those who’d been there and written about them.

The Mojo Lounge Second Anniversary Celebration with Willy G’s band at 5:00pm, and R.J. Mischo’s Band at 9:00pm on a Saturday allowed me the time to handle the distance from Santa Rosa and finally get there. Afternoon stops at Down Home Music and Subway Guitars didn’t hurt either. Down Home Music is one of the places I really have to guard myself; I could spend money in there like a sailor the first night in port.

I apologize to the members of Willy G’s Band for not getting all their names. The place was a dancing madhouse from early on and I was having fun and I didn’t take notes or ask around enough. One guy I recognized in Willy’s band was "Big Bob" on guitar who I’ve seen here and there over the years. Bob was resplendent in a tan rayon lounge suit with diagonally striped two-tone shoes. The spherical bass player with the Danelectro bass was familiar too but I couldn’t call his name to mind.

This band was loud and it ate the vocals early on. They seemed to realize it later on and turned down. The left-handed second guitarist carried the vocals while I-880 was tied up. Half the band was missing at show time—stuck in traffic on the Nimitz Freeway when the A’s baseball game let out and clogged the freeway. The other half started and did the first set.

Willy G didn’t appear early on. When the traffic jam freed him he made a cameo spot right before the break.
It was a very long break with much confusion with the band loading though the crowd. It took a long time for the band to get going on the second set.

Willy G. didn’t sing much at all until almost 7:00 when he sang a few tunes and got things going. He had C.C. Cole sit in. She has a great voice for James Brown tunes and hot soul songs. She’s a small blond woman carrying around a lap dog until she sings. Then she grows magically taller.

Willy and the band did "tried and true" material—that is to say, very standard soul blues stuff. Willy has a lot of energy and is commanding with his height and constant movement. His band together but not yet seamlessly tight.
Willy went over time on his set and didn’t finish until after 9:15—mostly that was because they’d lost time earlier, but it was also because Willie wanted to end it on an energetic note and shoehorned in "Sex Machine."

Meanwhile the Mojo Lounge was a hoot, with a décor that came ONLY from Beer companies—except for one little sign about being an Elvis Presley zone. The patrons of the bar were real blues fans and real East Bay Grease. It was a house with Raiders beer signs and sleeveless shirts, baggy shirts and shorts, and rhinestones and leather. The place has raw juke. The front window rattles out on the street when the band plays. The window bars on the front appear to be old brass bed headboards from a 70s motel. A faded seventies exterior with mortared on flagstone in places and ‘rickrack’ wood trim is nicely set off by a yellow backlit flyspecked Plexiglas sign with the stick figure cocktail glass with red plastic cherry icon. Juke.

A barbecue grill with three Mexican guys turning shaved meat on it produced some very tasty ‘Al Pastor" tacos with all the real Mexican fixings like cilantro and picked serrano peppers and carrots set out so you could build your own. The tortillas were the real corn ones. The draft Sierra Nevada was extra good with real tacos.

I was able to talk with some Bay Area Blues Club members. Jack the Moderator ("There’s nothing moderate about Me.") showed up and was happy as a clam. I got to meet Tom Hayes, Phil Harmonica, and a lot of others. My shyness got the best of me and I didn’t really circulate everywhere like I should have. I was having lots of fun in the corner of the bar. Lots of interesting people at the Mojo Lounge. As Willy G. was on break before his last set Craig Horton, Steve Gannon, R J Mischo, and their band members drove in. There was lots of that good parking lot talk.

The RJ Mischo Band’s superior quality was powerful right from the first and lots of great harp-driven tunes happened in the first set. RJ is a truly fine vocalist and the set really had them up and dancing.

RJ introduced Little Junior Crudup resplendent in a black outfit with a red homburg hat and red shoes. Junior has a powerful voice and managed to cut through the sound mix. It was a much better show than the last time I’d seen him.

Steve Gannon came up on the second tune of the second set and was just as good as can be on guitar. Understated and driving. Craig Horton joined within a few minutes and played some powerful guitar while his vocals got buried in the sound mix a bit. Craig has this "thing" where when he plays everyone around him seems to play better. Craig never seems to be operating on autopilot and always seems to be searching for a new lick or sound.

Suddenly eleven o’clock came and I started to fade. With a long drive ahead of me discretion got the best of me, and it was time to go. Thanks to the Mojo Lounge and the musicians for one fine time.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

I have kept the faith

Daddy was a piano player. He could have made a living at it easily, but he also had the gift of higher mathematics and made his life another way. His musical gods were Johan Sebastian Bach and the blind funky jazz idol Art Tatum. I grew up with Daddy’s blues and jazz 78’s and early LPs. Daddy helped me buy me and my brothers and sisters guitars. "Don’t tell your mother." He suffered through the beginner period with each of us in turn, only yelling at us when we practiced the same mistake over and over. It’s a musical family.

My son Martin stared at the fiddle at the music festival booth and went back and stared at it again. He was eight. It was a cheap Chinese one. I bought it for him. He wanted to be in the school band, I encouraged him and eventually, the violin being too difficult for the band program to bend to, he became a drummer. Within a year he made big progress and somehow was the one who told the other kids how things had to be set up and could remember the cues. In seventh grade the music seniors and juniors of the combined Jr./Sr. High School seemed to assume he was a "music kid." I started watching the prices of drum sets. I got him a high-level practice snare with a stand. He started wearing beanies with badges and buttons and safety pins on it, and t-shirts with pictures of hearts as hand grenades. A ‘kiddy set’ wasn’t gonna do it.

There it was on Craig’s list, a used set of Pearl Exports with cymbal stands and cymbals at a price I could manage. We went and looked at it; it had been stored in a barn. It was dirty. The chrome had some pitting, a couple of parts were missing, the "throne" stool was crummy, the drums were good, the cymbals fair. We bought it.

Taking it back to my house we enlisted drummer Vic Brain in the reconditioning effort as we used Brasso and steel wool on the metal parts removing rust and pitting, and polished the cymbals. The dust and dirt of the barn was removed with Lemon Pledge. Vic went through all the drums and identified all the parts that needed work or replacing. He tuned the toms and snare. The three of us went Zone Music and bought a new snare bracket and snare strings, bass drum heads, a ride cymbal stand, and some other hardware. After all the work Vic found a ride cymbal from the drummer’s collection of extra snares and cymbals, and a cymbal case and better throne stand. Martin had gone absolutely quiet and was vibrating. We packed it all up in the car and took it back to his house. His mother said not a word to either of us as we brought it into the house. For the first time he hugged me with a man’s strength.

Two days later I went to see him. He, a fourteen year old boy ("The floor is my filing system"), had CLEANED HIS ROOM in order to get his bed, computer setup (he built it himself), and the drum set all in. The drums and cymbals were muffled with t-shirts and old sheets. "I had to do something because it’s too loud for mom." He had out the Count Basie CDs I gave him along with the Rock CDs.

Daddy (a confirmed scientific atheist), rest in peace wherever you are, I have kept the faith. I have passed it on.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

Sonny Lowe’s Blues Jam 6/23/05 and other nights

"The Blues is dying!" "The Blues is dead!" "It’s all hyphenated Blues now."

The blues is an underground music; invented/reformed out of older traditions by marginalized people and mostly performed with mail order instruments. Between the world wars the music transformed itself from its semi-folk origins and became more music performed by professional and semi-professional musicians on weekends. The Depression-era part of the great migration out of the south transformed it more, creating hybrids with jazz and newer rhythmic patterns. The blues became an economic force with its own sales charts and market solely among blacks

When T-Bone Walker took up the electric guitar in 1941 and adopted more sophisticated scales, chord progressions and lyrics he changed the blues forever. Louis Jordan’s jazz influenced jump blues style added new things to the Blues as well. When Muddy Waters came north he found he had to get an electric guitar if he was going to play in the bars and clubs. Muddy developed old Delta Blues into a new supercharged hard variety that complimented T-Bone’s more sophisticated style.

Down south Robert Lockwood and B. B. King were listening to T-Bone, Louis Jordan, and the Count Basie Orchestra and putting new techniques and orchestrations into the blues. West Coast Rhythm and Blues with its Texas and Louisiana swing roots and the influence of T-Bone adopted the new ideas. And in the fifties the mighty Ray Charles brought the influence of the black church into the blues and invented soul music. Between 1948 and 1968 the blues was black-based ‘pop’ music with the musicians striving for hits.

As the audience changed with the rise of rock and soul music and the occurrence of the white "blues revival" the blues retreated from being pop music to being the music of blues fans who became harder to easily categorize. The rise of radio formats created "genres" which labeled music into niches. In the case of blues it guaranteed that blues wouldn’t be on the radio or TV. The Blues retreated to certain clubs and bars while gaining some economic life with the rise of the Blues Festivals in the 1970s. It became a regional music with interlocking regions and fans no longer strictly categorized by race or economic class. Divisions remain but fertilize each other. As the saying goes, "The Blues chooses you."

In Sonoma County the blues fans are hardcore and mostly white while disdaining racism or other useless categorizations. Sonoma County, like San Francisco, was (and is) a stronghold of ragtime and jazz from the earliest times. The music lives on in the small clubs.

Sonny Lowe’s Pro Blues Jam is a Sonoma County institution on Thursday nights at Jasper O’Farrell’s pub in Sebastopol. Harp playing Sonny has run it for several years. The new owners of Jasper’s being musicians knew to keep it going when they reopened the place. If you’re a recognized musician in Sonoma County you can sit in for a couple of numbers, usually in the second set. It’s not for the hopeful wannabe.

Sonny’s band is Tall Paul on bass, James Foster on drums (a favorite of mine-and he plays Pearl drums), and David Burke on guitar.

I go there usually for the first couple of sets. People tell me I should stay for the last set even if I’m beat. The crowd is mostly confirmed music lovers and dancers and it usually isn’t crowded. The worst thing of the jam is Sonny’s announcement of a short break followed by a thirty-minute band disappearance.

Ah, but the music! Want down and dirty, unvarnished, un-cute, blues done in the tradition and danceable as hell? Blues from all over and done right? Fine harp and great guitar playing? Want to dance on a little wood floor right in front of the band? It’s at Jasper’s on Thursday nights.

Sonny knows most all of the harp classics and if it’s Sonny Boy or Little Walter or Big Walter Horton or William Clarke you want, Sonny’s got it.

"You got to help me
I can't do it all by myself
You got to help me, baby
I can't do it all by myself
You know if you don't help me darling
I'll have to find myself somebody else

I may have to wash
I may have to sew
I may have to cook
I might mop the floor
But you help me babe
You know if you don't help me darling
I'll find myself somebody else."
("Help Me" Sonny Boy Williamson II (c) Arc Music)

On guitar is the best kept musical secret in Sonoma County: David Burke. David is pretty well known as a member of the Aces, the "punk-blues" band of Sonoma County. With the Aces he plays ‘guitar bass’ on a telecaster like Brewer Phillips did for Hound Dog Taylor. David doesn’t get out of Sonoma County much; he hates the travel. At the Thursday night jam he plays a stratocaster doing hot leads, as well as, dynamite rhythm guitar. Sonny being in Chicago and North Carolina last Thursday it was David Burke doing a power trio with Tall Paul and James Foster. The ‘West Side Sound’ was alive and well. Jasper’s became a small juke joint.

David has the voice, born to sing the blues, it’s raw and raspy and smooth all at once. He knows all kinds of blues tunes from all over. All done with cutting drive and vocal power. His guitar was quacking and honking and crying as he overdrove his small amp and the rhythm section behind him covered big space.

David is one guy who can do Howlin’ Wolf tunes. He doesn’t try to do them Wolf-style; he does them with authority his own way with the ‘aarrrgghh’ in his voice. The only vocal comparison I can think of is to J.B. Hutto.

"My baby caught the train
Left me all alone
My baby caught the train
Left me all alone
She knows I love her
She doin' me wrong

My baby bought the ticket
Long as her right arm
My baby bought the ticket
Long as my right arm
She says she's gonna ride
Long as I been from home

Well, who been talking
Everything that I do
Well, who been talking
Everything that I do
Well, you is my baby
I hate to lose"
("Who’s Been Talkin’" by C. Burnett © Arc Music)

After a set of great blues tunes David’s amp began making unexpected noises and David called a break while he switched amps. As usual it was a too-long break ("Too long, Baby, too long. Baby, baby, your break’s too long").

The wait was worth it as David came back even stronger in the second set. After a hot intro that reminded me of a Freddie King tune, the band did a slow blues to die for, screaming and crying in the night. This was followed up with a knock-out version of Wolf’s "Ooh Baby, Hold Me."

"When you squeeze me baby, make me holler whoa, whoa, whoa
When you squeeze me baby, you make me holler whoa, whoa, whoa
Back in my mind, I wonder what ya' doin' to me.

When you squeeze me baby, holler whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa
When you squeeze me baby, you make me holler whoa, whoa, whoa
Back in my mind baby, what are ya' doin' to me.

You're a good lookin’ woman, you're as sweet as you can be
You’s a good lookin’ woman, you sweet as you can be
Back in my mind baby, what is ya' doin' to me."
(C. Burnett © Arc Music)

It was everything you listen to the blues for.

Several tunes later he astounded me by doing Johnny "Guitar" Watson’s "Looking Back" which is one hot early Watson tune only a few know.

"As I was walking down the street
A pretty girl did I meet
And she was looking oh so sweet
Just an angel from her head to her feet

I tell you I was looking back to see
If she was looking back to see
If I was looking back at her.

She wore such a beautiful smile
She must have been a beautiful child
Woah! She was oh so neat,
Just an angel from her head to her feet

I tell you I was looking back to see
If she was looking back to see
If I was looking back at her."


Her hair was curly, shiny and black
Her shoes and bag were just alike
She wore the very best of clothes
Wore some black and shiny nylon hose

Woah, the girl had a thing going on!
I tell you she was just so fine
I just kept on looking back and looking back and looking back and looking back and…
(Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson)

The rest of the set was really fine with a whole lot of this jam summed up by Bo Diddley’s "Cain’t Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover." Even a Jimmy Reed warhorse like "You Don’t Have to Go" sounded fresh.

The break came and as usual it stretched and things lost momentum. Losing energy brought on the tiredness and it was time to go. I heard later they did a last set of crazy rock tunes and such. Just can’t make those long waits too many times. I’ll see you there. The Blues rolls on.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

Trailer Park Rangers 6/26/05

Man....and I thought I was done for the weekend!!
I wasn't planning on going out but a quick detour on the way home after
an afternnon out was in store.
Went by Jasper's for the Trailer Park Rangers' last Sunday gig for the
month.
Got there around 7pm thinking they started at 7:30 only to find out
they start at 8:30.
Hung out for a bit walking around town looking for coffee.
I really like Jasper's. I am so Thankful it's there if I haven't
mentioned that already ;-)

Mike Emerson would not be with them on this night but they did have the
fiddle player this time. This guy REALLY adds that Trailer park Rangers
feel.
Sat in the back and really gave them a listen. I was wiped after this
past week's events and besides, they're a bit difficult to dance to
although possible. I've done it before but it wasn't happening on this
night. It sounds great in the back. I'm never in the back so it was
different.
What an awesome band!!
It's journey of sorts. Next time I see Dave Carter I'm gonna ask how he
catgorizes his music because the best I can come up is Austrailian
Bluesgrass. It's some wild stuff. Chaotic and all over the map!! Then
he'll break into a ballad that'll bring tears to your eyes.
I love this band and they are definitly a favorite out of the "other-
than-blues-bands" I like from around here.
Dave Carter is a musical genius. The songs he plays. ....where does he come up with this stuff??

Go see these guys. It's a treat.

Mo

Posted by Mo at 05:14 AM | Comments (5)

June 26, 2005

Live Blues Pick of the Week!!

I'm sitting here reminising about a long week of blues that started
last Wednesday with Daniel Castro at Lou's and Lisa Kindred at The
saloon, then David Burke Trio on Thursday, then Mark Hummel on Friday
and ended with Alvon lastnight, I was amazed at which one stood out
the most out of all that wonderful blues I got to hear. I know it's
not fair to have "favorites" but we're not talking about our children
here.
Out of all those awesome players I would have to say that David Burke
was the one who really reached out to me the most. As a matter of
fact....it was hard for anything else to live up to it. To my eyes
and ears anyway. I should've just called it a weeknd done after
Thursday!!
Damn, what he did on that night was nothing short of amazing.

All the music was great but it amazes me that a local unknown jewel
such as David, a guy that no one has ever heard of outside our
county, should take the cake in my book.
Here's a guy who never leaves the county to play and never plays with
his own band, he's what they call "just a side guy".
Frustrating as fan. One of his caliber should be touring, at least
the bay area!!
Way to go David, James and Paul. You guys have spoiled me and I will
never be able to go back to mediocrity.

Mo

Posted by Mo at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

Alvon Johnson at Chris' Club!! 6/25/05

I headed out to Chris' Club in Vallejo for some of that AlVon Johnson!!
It had been way too long for a whole night of his. As a matter of fact...I don't think I've ever seen a show of his own. Just a set here & there.

It was Alvon or Groove Team at the Flamingo with MZ Dee and Anthony Paule.
"How could you pass on that combo?" one might ask.
Too many R&B, Rock, soul covers, that's how. I'm pretty narrow-minded when it comes to my live music. It's the blues that gets me behind that wheel driving all over the bay area and not much else.
I love that whole band, Groove team, and they played some blues for us last time, but a song here and there just don't cut it for me. I get impatient and antsy and start looking bored and it shows, I've been told.
It's just best to avoid that whole situation and find some BLUES!!!

Oh shoot. Now I feel guilty for saying that.
Aaah well.

I will never forget the one song Anthony opened a set with the last time we saw them there called "Big Guitar". Plenty of Big Guitar in that instrumental and it was the best!!!
Or the way MzDee sings them smoky blues tunes is just to die for.
Now that is a show not to be missed!!!
You want dancin' tunes and don't care about just the blues, then go see Groove team. They are good. An all-star cast and tight band.

Chris' Club is cool. Big patio in the back, lots of pool tables, and way too many neon lights. I hate neon lights. Club Tac is another place that is too bright and buzzin' with that florescent glow.
The brightness of the place was a turn off and that would be my only complaint.
Chris' is a sports bar and not a typical juke joint. But hey, they have a stage that holds a live band, a dance floor front and center ( which was just mine for most the night), a coffee place and McDonald's next-door, easy on and off of the Freeway and plenty of parking, no cover, good service, friendly folk, just bring your sunglasses....;-)
Dim the lights for the blues, baby!

Alvon is so good. It was the Alvon Trio!! No keys or nuthing but drums, bass, and plenty of GUITAR!!

His voice is so smooth and sexy but that guitar playing would be what gets to me. He has both, the voice and the licks and knows how to work them both.
His shows are much cleaner at festivals and for good reason. All ages.

He's a comedian and really likes to joke around on stage but man.... when he gets serious and concentrates on that playing, it takes you higher and higher and just when you think you couldn't take no more, he'll throw some more out at ya!
Definitely an under-rated guitarist.
The build up to the climax is far better than the climax. It's all about the foreplay.
Geeze...go to an Alvon show and look what happens. One starts thinking impure thoughts.

You gotta see the way he moves, the way his eyes roll back into his head as he's soloing, it's all too much.
All those theatrics are fine but the guy can really play that guitar.
He ripped one bad ass solo that FINALLY woke the crowd up and we all clapped and cheered. That would be the only time this crowd showed some REAL enthusiasm and the band deserved much more than they got.
It was one killer solo no doubt.

Alvon is the type of player you just have to get in every once in awhile. You start getting that craving and need to scratch that itch. And believe me....he does know to scratch that itch!!

Later,
Mo

Posted by Mo at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2005

Mark Hummel & the Blues Survivors!! 6/24/05

It took me all week to decide what to do on Friday night, if anything at all.
My eye was on Birdlegg at DGs but then at the last minute, I found Mark Hummel at The Ivy Room!!
How in the world did I miss that??!!

I am somewhat disconnected from my "can't-live-without" (my words ;-) blues calendar from another group that I've neglected to check in on so that might be how I missed it.
It is one awesome calendar, no doubt.

So, I just happened upon The Ivy Room website and saw Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors playing Friday night.

I just love the Ivy Room AND Mark Hummel with those Blues Survivors, so this was a must.

It was a great night of that west coast jumpin' blues with lots of shuffles thrown in as well.
Those Blues Survivors are the best. What a trio!
They would open each set with a couple of tunes.
The English Gentleman, Sir Charles Wheal, is one of my favorite guitar players from the bay area that I just don't get to hear enough of. His guitar is the best!!
Real crisp, clear, intricate playing.
He sings real nice too.

Steve Wolf on bass and Marty Dotson on drums are absolutely one of the best rhythm sections around.

Geeze…. I must say that about just about everybody, huh?
That just goes to show how fortunate we are to be living here in this blues rich area.
Besides...I really don't say that about everybody. Only when I mean it.

Marty is amazing to watch. Not sure why he had his kit "cornered" but it gave us a better view of his antics.
He's was not loud enough on this night. That or the harp was too loud.
Oh god, I'm sorry, let me fix that.
The harp was too loud although great. There, how's that?
When is OK to tell musicians these things during the gig?
Ever??

Meanwhile....

I'm going along, gettin' into the music, groovin' and listenin', all the while watching the people dancing and then it happens....
A steady thumpin' that got me jumpin' followed by some pickin' bass line of what sounds like a big ol' stand up bass poundin' out a jumpin' number. Of course, your first reaction is to look up on stage in that corner to see what all the commotion is about then you look and there's nothing.
I shouldn't say 'nothing' because Steve Wolf would be up there, with his electric bass, complete with rag hanging down, tucked under his strings.

This guy is amazing. An unassuming quiet guy, that makes his presence known on stage with his playing.
It is that steady foundation of what Marty and Steve put down that makes this band so awesome.
It has that groove and they keep it going steady, without fumbling, that catches your ears, feet and hips!!
Then Marty throws in some mixes that really mess with your head and get you smilin'!
A real show and Mark Hummel is a real showman!

I love his style. The way he and Sir Charles play off each other is nothing short of amazing. Just busy conversations and the dialog is continuous without crowding. Real clear and never stuttering.

Alabama Mike was in the house and sang a few. That was a treat!!
He introduced a song that he and Charles have been collaborating on and I thought to myself....
"Damn! This guy has been hanging and singing with just about all my favorite guitarists that reside here!"

Real cool night.
I asked Charles if he had any gigs scheduled with HIS band now that he's back, and he disappointingly said, no.
He was bummed about not playing for a month while they are home. They just got back from the road and man did they sound great!
Never a disappointing show from Mark Hummel.
A real class act!!

Later,
Mo

Posted by Mo at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2005

The David Burke Trio! 6/23/05

Wow! What a night!!
It was one of those nights that I wish I had on record. Something I could put on my stereo so I could listen to it over and over again. Why can't we get that kind of stuff recorded?? The pure rawness of a live gig is what I look for in recordings.

Walked in Jasper's, scoped out the stage and it seemed bare. Sonny Lowe was out of town and we know what that meant.
David Burke was center stage!

Some cave under such pressure but not David. He steps up and takes the challenge head on. As a matter of fact...I think he loves the challenge. Although it didn't seem challenging to him at all.
There were no drum or bass solos to fill in. Nope, none of that.
Just guitar...guitar...guitar!!
Lots of it and KILLER guitar too!!
Just when I thought I've heard the best from him, he does something more.

It was a real special night indeed. One we're not likely to get again.
The whole band in top form.
James Foster was filling in with all kinds of mixes on the drums. "Tall" Paul Dowling on bass was in the mix as well. These two guys make up one of the best, and tightest ,rhythm sections around.

This trio was just phenomenal on this night. There were no spaces that needed to be filled in and as a matter of fact, having another musician up there would've ruined the dynamics.

I was wanting to scream, holler, and whistle, all night, and I did plenty of it but... I thought it was getting to be too much so all I could do was JUMP up and down, throw my arms in the air, look at people with the look of, "Do you hear that?!".
I was pulling my hair out and I was about ready to charge up on stage although I wasn't sure what I'd do once I got there, it was just too much.
I really thought an artery was gonna burst in my head. My head was tweakin'.
At one point, I thought I was gonna have a heart attack right there on the dance floor. I wasn't worried because what a way to go!

The third set was, "Excuse us while we get alittle squirrelly with some rock". And they commenced to blow us away with some Zeppelin, Bluesy Stones, and they took us on an incredible rock journey.
Real good job although I had my doubts when the set started. Someone we know is a Zeppelin fan, I can tell. Real fun set.

There would be only one guest on stage the whole night and it was a guy by the name of Reed Baldwin, I think his was. What a fantastic drummer!!
Never saw him before and can he ever play them drums!!
Nope, no guest and this was a good thing to me. There would no disappearing act by David Burke. Breaks reasonable and right back on stage for more.

I am so Thankful for Jasper's.
I went into the bathroom and there was a sign on the wall stating that they would be starting to charge a cover on some nights and that ALL the proceeds would go to the band!
That was cool.

Sonny was missed but he can rest assure that David Burke, and band, know how to fill them big shoes, and how!!

If this same band were to be playing somewhere tonite...I'd be there.

Thank You David Burke, James Foster and "Tall" Paul for taking me to new heights. Places I never knew existed. I thought I heard everything until lastnight and I was high all day at work from it. Even on two hours sleep, I was floatin'.
When I started to feel the burn out, I thought of lastnight and instantly I was up again.
Usually I leave after a set or two on scool nights but I stayed 'til the end and we even went into the wee hours of the morning.

If only we could capture that on a CD.

Check out Sonny Lowe's gig every Thursday at Jasper's. Always fun. Always surprises, and well worth the trip.

Later,
Mo

Posted by Mo at 07:52 PM | Comments (2)

June 22, 2005

Daniel Castro/Lisa Kindred 6/21/05

I went against my own words and ventured down south of the bridge on school night. I just couldn't resist. Besides, someone twisted my arm ;-)

The plan was to hit Daniel Castro at Lou's for a set then Lisa Kindred at the Saloon for the rest.

After driving around all day and night on Sunday with Daniel's "Live at The Saloon" CD playing in the van, it made it all the more tempting to get in a show of his.
He is just so good. He plays and plays, takes command of that stage and it's HIS show. Of course, a great band is helpful but you know what I mean. Hardly ever, will people sit in. Call it uncourteous but I call it professionalism!!
I go to hear Daniel Castro band, I want Daniel Castro!
Every once in awhile it's cool, and I've discovered some fresh blues that way but for the most part....save it for Jams.
Just my opinion and we know that don't mean nuthin'...

Daniel had a different rhythm section this time around.
Randy Hayes on drums and Steve Evans on bass.
They were sounding real good, and these two musicians are nuthin' to sneeze at but.... T.Moran and Burton Winn were definitely missed.

We stayed for more than one set after all. It was hard to leave it was sounding so good. I was even starting to settle in at Lou's.
I could listen to that guy play that guitar all night long.

But we left and headed to the Saloon and found parking with ease.
Lisa Kindred was on break. Said Hello to her on the way in and man....does she look good! She was celebrating her Birthday.
They got back on stage in no time. The band played an opener with Dennis Geyer on guitar. Not sure who the drummer was but he is her regular drummer, that much I remember.
Willie Riser on bass.
Austin DeLone was absent and much missed.
He fills in beautifully. The band was a trio, not counting Lisa, and there were way too many bass and drum solos for "filler". One each, a night, is plenty in my book.
Austin was missed.
Dennis is a fabulous guitar player but it didn't seem in him to do a whole night of lead on this night.

Lisa is sounding real good!!!
Her pipes are hardy and her demeanor gentle, it's a real treat to watch her perform. A beautiful aura surrounds her. On stage and off.
When she did "Cut off my right Arm" ...aaah man...it was the best!!
It was real good to FINALLY catch up to her and that band. Need to that more often.
Heard that Eugene Huggins was gonna show up but he didn't while we were there.
Aaaah shucks. They both have a real laid back feel that go together real well on stage. Sorry to have missed that.

Some fun dancers and it was great to be back in my favorite home of the blues.....The Saloon.
The funkiest smelliest blues joint in the bay area and I love it.

Got some pizza and ice cream on the way home and made in time to catch 2 1/2 hours sleep so excuse my ramblin'.
I'm on burn out mode.
Couldn't nap after work due to my brakes being screwed up and so I hung out at the mechanic's this afternoon.
I'll just call it an early evening instead.

I never did make it to Jasper's last Thursday so for sure tomorrow for Sonny Lowe!!
I wanted to check The Hucklebucks from Sacramento, for the first time. They are at Lou's tomorrow night also. Too far and besides... I already did my school night out-of-town blues trip. I'll have to catch them next time. I've heard great things about them and have heard their guitarist, Robert Sidwell, when he played with Rusty the last couple of gigs. Real good player.
Who knows...just maybe I'll get that itch when tomorrow comes

Later,
Mo

Posted by Mo at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

Looking For Info On Wayne Hyde

I recieved this comment yesterday, attached to an archive I wrote about the Buddy King Band, and it's from a Don Egger and thought maybe someone out there would know something.
Read on:


I am looking for any information (albums in particular) on Wayne Hyde. He sang with the Buddy King band. Wayne passed away this year and I'm looking for anyone who knew him or has any recordings of him. He was the Father of a very dear friend of mine and all she has are a couple of tapes of him.

Perhaps someone knew him and could help me?

Wayne, also had a group of his own named The Wayne Woody Hyde Band.

Thank you,
Don Eggar
krustydon@mchsi.com

Posted by Mo at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

Russian River Blues Festival, 2nd Day, 6/19/05

Russian River Blues Festival, 2nd Day, 6/19/05


Having learned my lesson I was in line early enough to get a good space just uphill from the Gold Seating rope and with a fine sight line to the stage. Those in line with me were experienced festivalgoers who knew blues. My spot was almost flat and not very pebbly. I figured I’d done well and it was clear sailing to a great festival. I’d forgotten the human factor, more on that later. There still wasn’t any coffee to be had to start the morning. People around me looked like they could use a cup.

Bettye Lavette was the first artist up and was harmed by being first. As with the day before the vocal mics were buried and out of balance. For an intimate personal soul-blues artist this was a severe limitation. Bettye carried on and did bring the band’s volume down so she could be heard. She did a fine set with excellent songs and several great moments.

"I’d like to do a song from my Handy winning CD "A Woman Like Me." After 40 years in the business I like saying that. When I was nominated in a few categories I figured I’d probably win at least one, and I decided I’d walk up there real dignified, and give a great speech. Girl, When they called my name for CD Of The Year I fell down on the floor sobbing and they had to carry me up there."

Up before my breakfast
Shot of the whiskey on the side
It’s a dark and dreary morning
Clouds cover up the sky

The forecast calls for pain
The forecast calls for pain
My Baby’s love done turned cold
The forecast calls for pain

We stayed up all night talking
He’s grown restless (that’s what he said)
Told me there ain’t nobody new
But deep down I know that’s mess

The forecast calls for pain
The forecast calls for pain
My Baby’s love done turned cold
The forecast calls for pain

Let me tell you, he said
He’s tried and tried
Maybe he has--
But his love has went and died
And I can see deep down inside
I can see the man has changed
Said he’s changed, he’s changed

I can hear the thunder
Feel a chill run up my spine
I’ve seen this kind of thing before
I know when I’m on borrowed time

The forecast calls for pain
The forecast calls for pain
My Baby’s love done turned cold
The forecast calls for pain

("The Forecast" by Dennis Walker & David Plenn ©)

I want to see Bettye Lavette in a nightclub after dark and hear what a no good man I am and how I hurt her. I bought her CD at the artist booth.

When I’ve seen Tommy Castro in the past I’ve always been trampled by Barbies rushing the stage while squealing "He’s so cute!!!" This time they couldn’t do that because of the high stage and the efficient security people guarding the front. Tommy as a result seemed much more relaxed and intent on playing the blues. He actually wore his glasses and could see. He did tell us that a lot of his family was there. He did a good set covering quite a few years of his career, with heavy blues content. Tommy concentrated on playing and singing and had one of his best days.
He really seemed to be enjoying himself and used few cliché lines. I admired his ability to connect with the audience without using heavy rock songs.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Shemekia Coleman; she was one of the ‘middle of the show’ acts. I’d seen her three years before and been impressed with her potential and huge voice, while seeing that she had a ways to go as a song interpreter. Well! The woman grew up all the way!

In a yellow dress with yellow shoes she took command of the stage right away and never let it go. The huge voice is in her complete control and she can belt or purr the songs as she needs. Her material is very personal to her. And Shemekia is funny and self-confident now. Her songs included ones about waking up in bed with the wrong guy, being hustled by a lying married man and feeling terrible when she found out. "I’m twenty-six now and Honey, I must have had a lying cheating man for every one of those years." "Uh uhh, I’m not coming down in the audience. Last time I did that I lost this great pair of purple shoes to two guys who begged for them. Uh uhh." We have only begun to see the best of Shemekia Coleman, the young diva.

I really wanted to see Ike Turner; I’d seen him years ago with the Ike & Tina Turner Show at the old Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco. I was one of a hundred young guys trying to grab an Ikette on stage. Ike had growled at everybody while leading the band, playing guitar, and fighting off horny young men (but that’s another story). Now with Ike in his seventies I wanted to see him again while I still could.

Seated at a Kurzweil electric piano (only time I’ve ever seen three Kurzweils on stage), Ike played both piano and guitar and did some of his hits and some classic blues. "Rocket 88" was fun and the band sounded really good. It was sort of an odd set of songs as the mixture was without a lot of continuity or introduction, they were hits he was associated with in some way like an early B. B. King song I knew he produced.

Ike instrumental abilities received ‘show cases’ and I thought his guitar playing was more interesting than his piano playing. He has a nice finger vibrato that makes his guitar ring well. On stage with him was one of his long-time musicians also playing piano, plus another piano player who did most of the rhythm section work with the bass player and drummer. When Ike is playing without affectation or show he’s really good.

Toward the end of the set Ike introduced a young woman who had a breathless baby voice. She was got up like a young Tina Turner. "This young lady has never played the blues before three months ago!" said Ike. She could belt out "Nutbush City Limits." The ghost of Ike and Tina lived for a few minutes on stage. Good horn section.

Los Lobos came on stage, did one of their roots rock songs to applause, and then looked at each other while saying "This is a blues festival." Deciding on a song that fit that description took them a few seconds and then they did a nice hot shuffle tune. With that out of the way they then embarked on a Los Lobos set. "Kiko" was fun. Frankly, I liked the more Mexican and Latin rhythm stuff and the hard-core blues fans around me did too. The dancers were up for the Latin rhythm songs and sat back down for the Alt Rock numbers. I like Los Lobos, and I recognize the dilemma a festival promoter has in finding a sure-fire headliner that will sell tickets. I wish that the festival could have booked a blues performer of that stature.

All in all, this was a fine festival, despite the sound problems. It wasn’t that there wasn’t enough sound, it was there was too much and it buried the vocals. I look forward to seeing Johnny Rawls, Shemekia Coleman, and Bettye Lavette again in a smaller venue. I’d like to see Al Green again where the microphones do not stymie him. Earl Thomas is a flat-out great singer.

Festivals have their problems, but they remain the place where to see a variety of acts on a single show. The Russian River Blues Festival is to be commended on its very existence and for the variety of acts it books. It lets the acts play, doesn’t book package/tribute shows, and the audience can really see who is hot.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2005

Russian River Blues Festival, 1st Day, 6/18/05

The Russian River Blues Festival is what it is. Located in a magnificent river bowl the ground is river pebbles and sand leveled in two terraces with a tractor blade. In past years it baked in the sun. This year, the climate having decided to continue the rainy season for two extra months, the three-day storm was just beginning to clear as the Saturday 10:00 am. gates opened and the long line gave a mild cheer. The storm began to pull apart and the part-time drizzle eased off. It was a fresh morning to say the least. The coffee concession hadn’t showed up and bigger groups sent members off to Main Street for Java.

The heavy clouds were in active moving cells with rain bottoms. It was raining on the ridge tops to the south and north with hints of open blue holes in a couple places. The grounds were full of rain puddles, some with hay or pea gravel dumped in them. People set up and huddled in blankets. The turnout was bigger than I might have expected and behind us people were coming in rain or shine. Not early enough in the line to get the better ground just uphill of the gold seating, I set up on the crown of the rise.

The Festival had done something foolish—they’d set up an umbrella-ed overflow gold seating area on the elevated area used as the dance pit in previous years, and uphill of the general admission area on the hillside. The result was that the dancing wasn’t nearly as good this year, the musicians couldn’t see the dancers, and the people sitting in that area had people standing in front to them. They complained a lot.

All that said the Russian River Festival books acts and lets them play. No combined acts or package shows. You get to see the regular acts with enough time and space to really show who and what they are and what they can do. This year continued the great lineups they’ve been able to put together in recent years.

Johnny Rawls was the first act of the day and the festival. I was looking forward to this, as Johnny's last visit here two years ago on a local tour had been really good. Johnny came out and his backup band was the Bad News Blues Band from Phoenix. I’ve seldom seen a better set under adverse conditions than the set Johnny put in. He knew we were all sleepy or just plain tired. He knew he was the first act of the Festival and we had no momentum. He provided the momentum. Doing a few songs off his new album that were thoughtful he gradually built up to his hot soul-blues tunes and people began to shake it despite the brisk wind still blowing. Johnny overcame an unreliable microphone that kept crackling and popping. No stage man came to fix the problem.

"Hey people! I didn’t come from Mississippi to have you sit on you hands and behinds! Let me ask you—How many of you out there have made love on the back seat of a car?" Lots of hands went up and there were scattered shouts.
"How many of you have made love on a sofa, I mean, really made Luuuuve on a sofa?" The audience began to develop some real enthusiasm. The shout-outs were a lot stronger.

"Let me ask you something...
How long has it been since you made love, huh?
Did you make love yesterday?
Did you make love last week
Did you make love last year
[The band came in behind Johnny and he began to sing]
Or maybe it might be that you plannin´ on makin´ love tonight
But just remember, when you start making love
You make it hard, long, soft, short
And be strokin´
I be strokin´

I stroke it to the east
And I stroke it to the west
And I stroke it to the woman that I love the best
I be strokin´

("Strokin’ by Clarence Carter (c))

Johnny and the Bad News Blues Band built this into a hot moving hip shaker and people were up and dancing as the clouds cleared more and the threat of rain went away. It was the No Rain dance. Strokin’!

Next up was Maria Muldaur doing her blues revival act. She turned in her usual competent set of classics that was appreciated by the audience. Mighty Mike Schermer was quite excellent on guitar. He sure can play. I was glad to hear that Maria is going back to the sort of semi-acoustic pre-war blues and rag material she did well way back when as a part of the Kweskin Jug Band. Hey, I’ve got a copy of that old Even Dozen Jug Band LP she’s on as an eighteen year old Maria D’Amato. This is the stuff she does right.

Wandering around the festival grounds I sampled the Thai food, bought a cheap straw crusher hat, and was disappointed that there were no CD booths (a number of vendors didn’t appear). I figured out what I was going to eat for lunch (red beans and rice, or links?) and where the "plastic facility" was located. Then I scoped out where the wine stage was. What I found there was a whole lot more than I expected.

I’ve seen Earl Thomas several times with soul and rock bands. I know him as a powerhouse of a singer with a huge range and wide material. I think he’s one of the best singers out there and I’m sorry the world hasn’t quite caught on to him yet. Of course, that means I get to enjoy his singing up close now. What I got that Saturday was as up close and personal as you can get in the blues.

Earl performed with only acoustic guitar player Steve Cooley from Santa Fe. It was stunning in its simplicity, intimacy, and directness. It was Earl singing for about sixty of his closest friends, delivering it right to each of us individually. "Stage presence." "Performance values." "Delivering a song." All those phrases are too weak and intellectual for what Earl did on the Wine Stage. The guy flat sang for us involving us with the show and selling every phrase, knowing the song and bringing us into it. Behind him Steve Cooley didn’t overplay the guitar parts, he left lots of holes which Earl filled or deliberately left empty. Steve played some of the best rhythm parts out of old blues and Earl knew what to do with it. We don’t see stuff like this much any more. Songs--where you can get with the words! Earl Thomas knocked us dead. I recognized lots of blues fans in the audience, they knew too. I went back to the wine stage three or four times and he did it every time. I bought all his CDs.

Coco Montoya was as "on" as I’ve seen him. He did a powerful set of driving rock-influenced blues having enough lyrical feel in the soloing to keep my interest. No, I’m not particularly a blues-rock fan, but Coco did it right. Fiery leads and some fine singing. Like several of the acts his vocals got buried in the sound mix and you had to strain to hear the song. The one thing I had a hard time with was the sound volume. It really was at "Sound Pressure" levels during Coco’s set, with my clothes pulsing with the bass player and the bass drum. I had to move to the back to save my ears. You could hear just fine all the way in the back. I had a Thai shrimp stick as I admired Coco’s playing without blood coming from my ears. A driving set.

Deborah Coleman unlike Coco was really blues-rock, quoting famous hard rock song phrases frequently. Her roots are firmly in the rock area. Her band plays that way for her. The drummer definitely was a rock drummer playing straight 4/4 time rather than blues time. Lots of bangs and crashes. Lots of people in the audience liked it and had a good time with it. Women were pleased to see a woman up playing up on stage. I liked Deborah’s singing more than her playing. The lack of dynamics was also wearying as the band played everything fast and never changed volume or time very much. I began to wish for more variety in songs, riffs, and rhythm.

At about 5:00 there was a long break as a complete set change and a quick sound check was done. Black clad musicians moved on stage and set up. The crowd milled around and many, seeing the long break for what it was, went for the last beer and refreshment stop. Anticipation began to grow. A full horn band with keyboards, two guitar players, and backup singers materialized out of those moving on stage. The band began an instrumental and showed some chops but cut it short.

The crowd roared as Al Green was introduced in full soul show fashion. Al had a smile that flashed out to the whole audience. "I LOVE YOU!" yelled out Al and the whole revival/soul show was under way. Al did some of his fine old songs while talking to us about going back to the days of 8-track tapes ("We go back that far together!"). All had the same trouble with the vocal mics being buried in the sound mix. He appeared to decide that he wasn’t going to be able to do certain things and he featured the band at times.

I don't know why I love you like I do
After all these changes you put me through
You stole my money and my cigarettes
And I haven't seen hide nor hair of you yet

I wanna know
Won't you tell me
Am I in love to stay?
Hey hey

Take me to the river
And wash me down
Won't you cleanse my soul
Put my feet on the ground


He tried "Take Me to the River" with the crowd but the sound from the vocal mic was weak. He carried on with it and sold it anyway. We all sang "Wash Me in the Water!" Al kept on loving us, and smiling at the beautiful setting sun and redwoods while looking really enthusiastic.

Al said, "I know there are people here who want to know, ‘Has Al Green lost It?’" Then he smiled and said, "Here’s one from back there."

Call me call me call me
What a beautiful time we had together
Now it's gettin' late and we must leave each other
Just remember the time we had
And how right I tried to be
It's all in a day's work
Call me

Losing your love, acting foolishly
Go on and take your time 'cause you're only losing me
Love is a long ways from here
Tell you it's all in the way you feel
If your love is real
Come to me
Call me --call me --call me-- come back home

The best thing I can do is give back your love
Let you go away feelin' free as a dove
If you find you're a long ways from home
And somebody's doing you wrong
Just call on me baby
And come back home
Call me call me call me come back home

That falsetto to die for was there—"Call Me—call me—callme-ahhh!" Ooohh, he really got me with the confidential low tones of, "Looosing your looove, acting foooolishly." Al really got me. It was ‘Church.’

Al did plenty of hits in his hour and a half and made it seem all new and fresh and part of the here and now. Not an oldies show, this was a revival of the spirit and we were the congregation of positive people. Testify on, Rev. Al Green.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 06:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2005

Jazz, Jaunts, Jams, and Jasper's 6/19/05

The Honey was workin', the kids out and about, so I was on the prowl
for some Sunday Blues, Baby!

I saw that Fredrick Nighthawk was going to be in Downtown Petaluma at
the Helen Putnum Plaza for the "Blues & Jazz on the Plazz" event.
It happens every weekend thru August. Saturdays 4-7pm and Sundays 3-
6pm. Some local merchants pitch in and sponsor this really cool event.
I patronized a couple of them and I finally found me another "Blue
Teardrop" in this cute little shop. I have it hanging on my van
mirror. I had one but gave it away and haven't seen one since.

So...I parked in the free garage, grabbed a sandwich from Petaluma
Market and walked over to the plaza.
This was not Fredrick Nighthawk.
A jazz trio and I settled in for a bite and a set.
Come to find out, Fredrick was last weekend. He is a real fine piano
player and I was looking forward to seeing him

This is a really neat setting with plenty of shady places to sit, a
fountain, deli's, coffee shops, all sorts of stuff in the heart of
the Historic Downtown.
I had time to kill since I wasn't settling for a whole afternoon of
jazz and the Willowbrook Jam didn't start 'til 7pm.

The original plan was to hit Putnum Plaza for Fredrick, then hit
Willowbrook for Goose's Blues Jam at 7pm, then hit Ace-in-the-hole
for John Allair and a quick stop on the way home at Jasper's for The
Trailer Park Rangers.

I paid the Jazz band, and drove around the old hood with no live
music on the agenda til 7pm.
Drove past the school our kids went to looking in awe at the 25
redwoods our Ecology Club had planted some 10+ years ago.
Drove further west towards the coast and ended up at a regional park
called...get this...Helen Putman Regional Park!
(I'm ashamed to say that I can't give you much history on Helen
Putman but I do know she was the Mayor of Petaluma at one time)

We used to take the kids hiking here at this park when they were
little and I had forgotten all about it.
Finished my sandwich while Luther Allison and Otis Grand were singing
out on them guitars. No...."Crying" out.
What a great song that 'Perfume and Grime'.

I decided...what the hell, I'll walk to the pond we always used to
walk to.
It was an easy hike and I remember it being much more strenuous. Of
course, we were toting around little ones then.
It was so quiet and peaceful with hardly no one out there. The pond
full, I walked around it watching the bullfrogs jump in the water as
I approached.
Birds, frogs, wind, and a few kids tadpole fishing with nets and
jars, were the only sounds to be heard.

That was such an easy walk that I decided to venture further into the
park. I had never been in there that deep before.
It seemed endless with trails everywhere and the views spectacular!
Not planning for a hike, I was wearing soft-soled moccasins and my
feet were hugging every crack and crevice. It was as though there was
nothing between my feet and the earth. It felt good.
The breeze light, rustling thru the trees, I hiked thru savannahs,
oak forests, along ridges with panoramic views that changed as I
walked.
I wanted to lay under a big ol' oak and take a nap.
I zig-zag'd my way out , checked myself for ticks, hopped in the van,
and headed on out to Willowbrook for Goose's Jam.

Got there, walked in and saw no instruments, no amps, not even a mic
stand!
I asked someone if there was any music tonite and they said at 8pm.
(Take note: Goose's Jam starts at 8pm NOT 7pm)
I was walkin' out as musicians were starting to show up and unload.

I fiddled around in the van, sorta redecorating, re-sticking pics to
the dash that have fallen off over time , hanging up my "blue
teardrop" and such, when I decided, What the hell...why not shoot
down to San Rafael to check out Gary King. I had heard great things
about his guitar playing.
I bailed and got there in no time. Walked in and not a hint of any
live music to been seen or heard. Except for an empty stage of course.
I asked and she said Gary hasn't been there for the last couple weeks.
It pays to call ahead but this whole day had been like this so far so
why ruin the momentum.

I left and got back to Willowbrook just in time. They had a jam going
on.
Nice jam and Goose gets everyone up there and really keeps things
flowin'.
Just show up with your gear, sign up and your up.
Goose can really play a nice harp too!
They had a real solid rhythm section (bass & drums) but you could
hardly hear them.
What they do at the Willowbrook is put the band in a room and face
them towards the big entryway. This room makes it seem likeit was
once a house or something.
Drums and bass sittin' way in the back and corner with the rest of
the amps pointed out front & center towards the entryway. It kills
the rhythm section and plus...the PA is sittin outside the room and
that really kills it.
I say if the band HAS to be in that room, bring the rhythm section
out more. And definitely put the bass amp even with the guitar amps,
not behind them.
But hey...what do I know? I'm just a fan not sound guy.
Weird set ups like that need accommodating. I bet it's loud as hell
playing in that room!

Fun jam and if you want to jam, this is the place to be. "Goose" is a
great host and an even better harp player.

I left there and hopped onto Stony Point Road and headed towards
Sebastopol for The Trailer Park Rangers. As I approached hwy 116,
Daniel's "Blues For Mario" came on and that would see me the rest of
the way til I got there. It's a long song but not a waning part in it.
What an awesome song, I tell you what. An instrumental he recorded,
and played, for the first time on his "Live at The Saloon" cd.
It's a song for his brother and the emotions are pure and raw. You
gotta hear it!!

The whole thing is real good and as I was listening to it while
driving around, I was wishing I was headin' to one of his shows.
Sometimes I just have to have that fix.

I pulled into the lot just as Mike Emerson finished up one of his
best solos, ever, on that same song. Fitting, seeming how I was going
to be seeing him play with this band tonight -The Trailer Park
Rangers.

Mike Emerson is a musical genius on them keys and it was amazing to
listen to him in this style of music.
I'm not sure what to call these guys but it ain't the blues. Country,
folk, roots, Australian Bluegrass... I don't know, but there's
something about them I really like.

Dave Carter (the leader) is another musical genius. The songs he
writes as well as the arrangements, lyrics...aaah shoot... the whole
band is most talented.
All the different sounds from each player, the way it came together,
fell apart, then came back together...it was all so chaotic,
unpredictable and just real hard to explain.
Then Dave would break into a ballad or something to tame it down a
bit.
Yep, Michael Emerson fits in there real nice.

That was fun and not a bad crowd for a Sunday night. I really like
Jasper's and the great folks that go there. Vinny is the best!

I left and headed home finishing up listening to Daniel's "Blues For
Mario". It ended and I just had to replay it again. It would see me
all the way home.
I still get Goosebumps, and shed a tear, when I listen to it and
that's no lie.
Shoot, my kid still gives me a hard time for crying before the Grand
Canyon and all her glory ;-)

The last note was played as I pulled into my driveway.
I love it when that happens!!

Later,
Mo

Posted by Mo at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2005

One More Mile/Sabbath Bloody Sabbath 6/18/05

I ventured down to Fairfax lastnight for ONE MORE MILE at Peri's on
Broadway.

I just love that little strip of action down there.
Three 'Live' music venues all in a row!
Cafe Amsterdam had Sugar Mama & the Doughboys, (or something like
that) and they were Jazz/Blues. Not bad and this is a sit down venue.
Walked a few steps down to 19 Broadway to hear what was coming outta
there and it sounded alright. Groovin' funky reggae. This was what I
observed after a few strolls down there.

But....it was ONE MORE MILE that I came for.
By this time I was really craving some of that Westside Chicago sound
and really yearnin' for some killer blues guitar!!

I just love Peri's. Why I didn't discover it sooner is beyond me.
OMM was sounding real fine.
Norm DeCarlo on drums.
Jersey Jim on bass/vocals.
Craig Kloor on guitar.
That's it and that's all that is needed with this band.

Sure miss Lee Thompson on drums but Norm ALWAYS fills in nicely. That
would be my only complaint about OMM is that they need a steady
drummer. One that is with them gig after gig like Lee was and not
just on a 'fill-in" basis. It needs to be real tight for a trio and
they are no exception. But if anyone should fill in....let it be
Norm!!

They sounded great and I am so glad to be there with them at the very
place they got their start five years ago.
Craig can play the hell outta that guitar. Just when you think you've
heard it all before, he throws something new at ya.
Aaah...the journeys and twists and turns. He is simply amazing.
I love to mimic his playing with body moves. Just when I think I've
got it down....he'll throw something out there that throws me off.
That's the beauty of it.

I need more of them because I am ashamed to say, I left after only
two sets.
I always get antsy during break and I bailed and wanted to finally
find where Pete's 881 Club was located. I had been wanting to scope
it out but have never really tried that hard but tonite.... it would
happen. My goal was to scope it out for future references such as
Gary King and other blues acts but on this night it was .....Sabbath
Bloody Sabbath- a Black Sabbath tribute band.

That's right...Black Sabbath.
While other kids were rockin' out to Kiss, AC/DC, and such...I was
diggin' Black Sabbath. The innovators of metal, no doubt. Metal
genius' in my book.
The music is wicked, and it reaches in and takes a piece of your
soul; it's so haunting.
Some say it's evil music but if you listen to the lyrics, they are
only 'warnings" of the devil, god's messagers, and societies ills.
Many messages of the evil that looms over the world such as drugs,
wars, poverty, atomic war, fear of god and the devil that is put in
us, and such.
The place wasn't that busy and a few of us old head-bangers were up
front singing along and rockin' out. I remembered all the lyrics of
songs that I hadn't heard in ages!!
Not bad for a tribute band. First time I had seen this Sabbath
band. "Sweat Leaf" I saw before and they were REAL good. They had
that Sabbath sound pegged. It's all about getting the sound of the
drums and "Geezer" Butler, the bassist.

I like Pete's and will be back for the blues. Quite possibly tonite
for the Gary King Blues Revue.

So there you go...two bands, one blues and the other metal. Two bands
with two things in common- they both are considered "Devil Music"
and.... they both have band names of song titles!

Great night but I feel I didn't get my guitar fix and need more of
it. I'm on the prowl for more tonite.

It was nice to be alone for an evening. It's been too long. Never,
would I have been able to stop for some Sabbath with a crew on board.
I love doing things on impulse and not have to answer to anybody once
in awhile.

I do love my blues buddies but once in awhile one needs time alone.

Later,
Mo


Posted by Mo at 12:06 PM | Comments (1)

June 18, 2005

Rusty Zinn at Sweetwater 6/15/05

Last Wednesday, even though I was wiped from a 4am morning, a nine hour work day, and didn't get a great nap, I went to The Sweetwater Saloon for the Rusty Zinn CD release party of his "Zinfidelity Vol 1".
Yeah, I knew all about his changing directions and headin' towards reggae and such, but I just knew there would plenty of blues.

Walked in and lo & behold....there was Bob Welsh sittin' behind the keys!!
Exciting? Yes indeed!

Randy Bermudas on bass, some drummer I've never seen before and Robert Sidwell on guitar!!
Two back up singers one being Angela Witherspoon and the other's name I didn't catch.
Real fine singing from both but that Angela took the cake.

There was actually some three-part harmonies coming from Rusty and the ladies.
Rusty's singing is in real fine form. He put down the guitar lots and concentrated on his singing and it paid off. At least for him because I was wanting that guitar!!

Ok...I did enjoy his singing and Sidwell covered the guitar part ok but it sure wasn't Rusty's playing that I so love and remember.

After a short set of some reggae and soul, it was blues time baby!

"Give me a shuffle in F" and that was music to my ears. I hope my excitement wasn't too obvious.

"Treat You Just Like a Queen" was done at a faster pace than usual but it was cool.

Lots of blues and loads of new material. Very refreshing and real good. This band was so tight and in sync, I was amazed.
All the material was done beautifully even the "other-than-blues" stuff.
I wanted the CD but couldn't afford it at the time. $15 cover on a Wednesday night was a bit steep for that place but about twenty people didn't think so.

Don't get me wrong....it's not asking too much for a band such as this but I'm sure it kept some away.
I know it kept me from buying a CD at his Cd Release Party!

Seems a release Party should be reasonable if you want people to buy the CD. I couldn't swing both on this night.

The music awesome and Rusty did pick up the guitar a few times and really ripped some killer BLUES solos. It was way cool.

I almost forgot to add that Randy Bermudas was so awesome on this night. He was doing some amazing leads on that bass. It was really cool watching him play those reggae bass lines and you can tell he really enjoys it. This was a side of his playing I had never seen before. He and that drummer along with Bob's piano playing, together they made up one of the best rhythm sections I've heard in many moons.
It was steady and kept everything running on time.
Randy Bermudas....man of the hour!!

I can't wait to get that new CD because they did lots of stuff off of it on this night and it all sounded so good.

Rusty's singing is the highlite and featured instrument these days and listening to him..... you can hear why.

Later,
Mo

Posted by Mo at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2005

Tradewinds news!!

This message is from Bobby Young, guitarist extraordinaire (those are my words;-)

I'm including the phone number. Their website is not fixed yet. Should be soon.
707)795-7878 (if it is indeed the same)

Also-I've heard the rumor that's it's gonna be BLUES on weekends!! Let us hope and please keep your fingers crossed!!

Bobby says:

O.K., here it is! The Bobby Young Project will be playing The
Tradewinds official Grand Re-opening July 8th. As soon as can get more
info I will post it here. For those of you who are musicians that
would like to play the Tradewinds, contact the club and ask for Tony
or Elizabeth Davis and give them your info. You can also send your
package to Tony or Elizabeth at:

The Tradewinds
8210 Old Redwood Hwy
Cotati, CA 94931

Peace
Bobby
--- End forwarded message ---


Posted by Mo at 06:33 PM | Comments (1)

Mom's A Weirdo!/Misc Stuff

We've got the oldest kid home visiting for awhile. I wanted to take him to where the youngin's hang out and possibly buy him a beer since he just did turn twenty-one.
So, I talked my Husband and Son into going with me to the Russian River Brewery for some blues & brews.

Fourth Street was hoppin'!
Lots of classic cars crusin' the street and many more parked. It was busy and felt like cruisin' night, for sure.

No music yet comin' out of the brewery so we walked on down to the Sweet Spot. Freightliner was just ready to start so we waited to hear what they were gonna be playing.
The twang of the guitarist fiddlin' around led us to believe they were Country and sure enough, they were.

We walked back to The Russian River Brewery, walked in, and the ol' man and kid disappeared to the back and I was up front diggin' the sounds of THE ACES!

The Aces sounded REAL good on this night!!
Derek was stingin' and real crisp on that guitar. Skye seemed 'sharp' and on it with his harp playin' and singin'. David Burke and Mike Gutsch were their usual tight selves doing their rhythm section duties.

I wasn't gettin' into it due to the family. They were not gettin' into it and seemed uncomfortable.
I was really trying but it just wasn't happening.
I was looking for the kid but he disappeared. The husband looking very uneasy and rigid, I decided it was time to go.
I guess I should be happy that the kid is not into the "club scene".
He's just happy being above the clouds up in the air.
The ol' man will endure it once in awhile but he's really not into it, although he's tried.

I have now surrendered trying to get the family into some live music and night life. I have come to realize that my scene is not their scene and I'm throwing in the towel on trying to get them to come out with me.
I have tried several times to expose them to a bit of what I LOVE doing to no avail. After I announced it to them lastnite, they were relieved.
"Finally" said our daughter.
"Thank God" said the oldest.
"It's about time" said the youngest.
The Husband was just laughing.

They just think I'm a weirdo when they see me getting down to the blues and that's fine.
It doesn't hurt my feelings and actually
I'm kind of relieved.
My scene is for me anyway. It's Mom's space to go and escape for awhile without worrying about taking care of people.
It's a place where I can go to forget about all my worries and such. My life outside of the home and family. We all need that and I'm not gonna feel guilty about it!!

So....The Aces sounded MUCH better than last time they were there and this is also a relief to me. I really wanted to stay for the whole night but there'll be a next time.

Fourth Street is once again alive and hoppin'. Real cool to see. I would love to see a couple more 'live' music venues but am happy to have what we have for now.
The Sweet Spot is booking more local blues and this is way cool.

I called about possibly going the Headfeathers thing tonight in Napa, on a last minute whim since Volker Strifler is playing there but.... they were sold out. I suspected as much but thought I'd try anyway.
If anyone is interested in any of their other Sunday shows this summer, I HIGHLY suggest you make reservations now.
Very small venue and sell out is easy.

Rusty Zinn is having a CD Release Party THIS WEDNESDAY down in Mill Valley at The Sweetwater Saloon for those of you who might be interested in that.

Tonight (and every Sunday this month) we have The Trailer Park Rangers (with Mike Emerson on keys) at Jasper's and it's an early show starting at 7pm. That's real cool to see. An early show on a school night. Someone is paying attention.
I am glad to see they got a steady gig there. Real good band but -WARNING- not the blues. Well worth a trip to Jasper's, all the same.

I have missed my bluesin' and plan on being back in action this next week. Possibly Wednesday night for Rusty, and definitly this Thursday night for SONNY LOWE. I missed them the last couple of Thursday's. Never again will I travel to the city for the blues on a Thursday night. I'll stay close to home, or North of the bridge, with this awesome band and others that we have right here in Sonoma County.


Mo

Posted by Mo at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2005

Sonoma County Blues Fest Time!!!

That's right....SCBF line up is now complete and what a line up!!
I wasn't too thrilled with the half line up I saw, although good, and then it happened....NICK MOSS & THE FLIPTOPS!!

This is gonna be a killer show. Mark your calendar for Aug.6th.
This is one of my favorite festivals with no VIP seating, security has mellowed conciderably, and dance area in front next to the seating with additional seating in the back. Maybe other festival organizers should take note of this awesome set up.
All's it costs is the price of admission to the fair. Somewheres around $7.

It's a fun time while the fair is going on. Also a great opportunity to check out the "Hall of Flowers".

Nick Moss is outta Chicago and man can he play that guitar!!
Go to Donna's Blues Festivals page right here at SonomaTunes for more info and info on other BLUES festivals in the state.

Next one for me is Hayward/Russell City Blues fest. Next month on the weekend of the 8th & 9th.
No VIP, dance area in front, and no gestapo. I will no longer do any fest that has VIP. It's not that I can't afford it, I can, that's not the point.

Russian River Blues fest.... great line up but I won't do it. Same with San francisco BF.
Steller line up this year but forget about it. Just ain't the same looking thru binoculars, sorry.
I'll never understand how they seperate people into classes at these things. This is the blues people, not the opera!! We are all VIPS! Get rid of it. Just a humble opinion from a blues fan.

Thank you Bill Bowker for booking Nick Moss!!

Later,
Mo

Posted by Mo at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2005

From the Used Bin 5

There was twenty bucks in my pocket as I drove west on Silva Street from a friends house. The street ended right across from The Last Record Store. It pulled me like a magnet.

The used blues racks were stocked with about as good a selection as I've seen (I'll be back). With twenty bucks I had two picks. No, I don't know why anyone would sell these.

I fed my ever developing interest in California's hidden blues history with this one which I've wanted for years ever since I couldn't afford it in the late 60s. Most blues fans have heard "One Room Country Shack" (usually in Buddy Guy's version), this is the guy who wrote it, Mercy Dee Walton. He recorded it first in 1949, and I'll get that one of these days. This is his great 1961 record, with classic piano by one of the great itinerant piano perfessers. Mercy Dee travelled the great agricultural roads of California's Central Valley for years playing the jukes and honky-tonks for for the black, okie, and mexican farmworkers. With him are the fine harmonica player Sidney Maiden and drummer Otis Cherry, both Central Valley regulars. It's fantastic in its combination of downhome feel and piano technique. It's just so blues.

I've owned this for years as an LP, and I resist buying CDs when I already have the LP, but this is one of the greatest blues records ever made. Magic Sam made only two studio records before his death at the age of 32, this is one of them ("Black Magic" is the other). Most guitarists know at least a couple of tunes from this record, it sets so much style for so many. An incredible band too. "I Found A New Love" and "Every Night And Every Day" and "I Feel So Good (I Wanna Boogie)" are still played all the time. A master class on playing guitar and singing the blues.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2005

T-Birds Show/Misc Blues

I emailed Dave, of The Last Day Saloon (SR), and asked what it meant about the "limited seating". He got back to me and assured me that it was an open dance floor with NO SEATS!! Yahoo!!
"Buy your tickets and get ready to dance" he said.
I rushed out to The Last Record Store to get a couple of T-Bird tix and couldn't stop myself from browsing the used blues section.
That was a mistake but I did walk out with two CDs for $15. Not bad.

One being Magic Slim's "Gravel Road".
Normally if I see "Mustang Sally" on the cover, I put it down but with Slim, it's OK.
He can do Mustang sally any ol' time.
The way he does it makes you want to request it!
"You're gonna be walkin'...."
This would be the only cd I didn't have of his and now my collection is complete. At least I think so.
I'm sure there's more I don't know about. My favorite recordings from him are Blue Magic and Scufflin'.
The title song "Gravel Road" is probably my favorite off this. One of the two or three originals on it.

The other is a compilation of "Genuine Mississippi Blues".
It's really good listenin' too with Bad Smitty; Sam Meyers; King Edwards; Johnny Littlejohn; Elmore James Jr.

Sam Meyers sounds great!!
I love the song,"Gold Tail Bird".
King Edward also does one of the best versions I've heard of "The Things I Used To Do".
Not as good as Joe Beard's version -which I've just recently pulled out for the first time in awhile. Joe does that song the best!!

Aside from that....it's been a lot of Ronnie Earl and Kirk Fletcher in my player.
I can't wait for that T-Birds show!!!

Hope the turn out is good for Burton Winn's benefit today. That's at The Saloon in North beach.
Burton sure looked good and sounded great when I saw him last Tuesday.
It scared the hell outta him and he sounded excited to be back on his feet and playing again.
Get on out to the Saloon today and support one of the area's finest bass players. Any info on where we can send in a donation would be much appreciated.
I will not make the benefit today.

Anyone planning on going to this T-Birds show up here, best get tickets. I have a feeling it's gonna be a sell out.

Later,
Mo


Posted by Mo at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)

June 04, 2005

Hacker and Hanck--Double Trouble on the Berkeley line

Last minute change in the roadtrip: add Ron Hacker at the Ashkenaz dance hall for his first set then to the Ivy Room for the main event: Terry Hanck and his fine band. Four of us flew down the freeway to the Berkeley-Albany line. First stop the ancient Ashkenaz dance hall with its old weathered wood walls, exposed wood truss roof, big wooden dance floor, and notoriously muddy sound. As we entered and paid the $13 door charge I saw the place was nearly empty.

Ron Hacker and the Hacksaws were soon on stage doing their very old time bottleneck blues with the twist that AJ’s modern funk bass gives them. AJ (Artis Joyce) plays both bass and effectively rhythm guitar with them. The first set was mostly medium dance tunes like "Red Cross Store" and "Keep You Hands Off Her." AJ’s bass and Ronnie Smith’s drums were much clearer than Ron’s guitar as the hall’s acoustics sucked the life out of Ron’s amp.

At the break I had a chance to talk to Ron. "They wanted us back here after the Birthday Party we had here. I told them it was a bad idea, not the right place, but they wanted us." He shook his head.

Opening the second set Ron played solo bottleneck guitar on his old National steel guitar. The fine old Sleepy John Estes tune "Brownsville Blues" was nice.

If you goin' down to Brownsville
take that right hand road
If you goin' down to Brownsville
take that right hand road
Lord I ain't gonna stop walkin'
'Till I find sweet mama's door

The girl that I love
She got long black curly hair
Well that girl that I’m lovin’
She got long black curly hair
Her Mama 'n her Papa
Sure don't want me standing there

I quietly sang the words along with Ron. AJ sitting next to me said, "You know the words to that? I never have learned them right." AJ as he got up to go on stage got off a line, "The music business is filled with thieves, pimps, and hustlers trying to screw you out of money -and those are the good people!"

Out on the street I talked with guitarist John Graham (Birdlegg, Motordude Zydeco, others). We both noted that the sound out on the sidewalk was better than inside. "I’ve played here so many times and it’s never very different. When David Nadel was still alive and running the place he used to have a soundmeter that cut off the electricity to your amps if it got so loud. We’d be playing and the electricity would cut off right in the song. Once Billy Wilson was just talking into the mic and the PA went off. I wish Ashkenaz charged less and the Ivy Room charged more."

[Later at the Ivy Room break I got to talk with talk with Fatdog (Subway Guitars. He told me lots of people seemed to be staying away from the Ashkenaz in protest of the actions of the Board of Directors running the place since David Nadel passed away.]


Mo, dancing right in the throw pattern of Ron’s amp, kept extending the time we were to spend at Ashkenaz. We were sympathetic, but we’d come for Hanck. Piling into the van we made the six-block transition into a nearly full Ivy Room parking lot. The sound was bouncing off the plate glass windows of the shops across the street as we rounded the corner into the sidewalk in front of the Ivy Room. People were dancing on the sidewalk! The sound coming out of the Ivy Room’s well known Dutch door was fabulous and we hurried inside.
Fate was good to us, both Johnny Cat, regular guitarist for Terry Hanck, AND former guitarist Chris "Kid" Andersen were on guitar, and the excellent Tyler Ng was sitting in for Butch Cousins on drums. Wow, what a band! Terry was in solid form singing well and honking the Tenor Sax like nobody’s business.

Johnny and Kid were having a ball and in friendly competition on hot and zinger guitar licks and laughing. Terry had the pleased look of a circus ringmaster.

"You’re all over town
wherever there’s a band
you stop at any table
where’s there’s a bottle and a man.
You from club to club
You from bar to bar
And man to man
You from car to car.


I’m gonna send you back
To that one horse town
Too many bright lights
You just pulling me down
You wearing your wig hat
And you doing me wrong
Go on back to that one horse town
Back where you belong

Johnny and Kid went nuts with this trading crazy licks and topping each other. The crowd was in frenzied and dancing like mad. Those not dancing were riveted on the band. It doesn’t get much better.
Kid Andersen, the Norwegian flash

Hot tune after hot tune with great solos and irresistible dance rhythms had most everybody out on the floor. Sitting gave time to watch a band completely on its game. Dee nest to me was dancing on her stool. Ann tried to sit some but would get on the floor as if drawn there. Mo never even came off the floor once. Tyler Ng on the drums in back was smiling and laughing. Kid Andersen began to caper in the postage stamp size area he was in. Johnny Cat was grinning. And always the rhythm and drive was overwhelming.

Slow numbers were achingly good with tons of swing and feel. Terry is one guy who can do justice to Tyrone Davis. He makes those songs ache.

"Aww, she didn't bat an eye
As I packed my bags to leave
I thought she would start to cry
Or sit around my room and grieve
But y'all, the girl, she fooled me this time
She acted like I was the last thing on her mind
I would like to start all over again

Baby, can I change my mind
I just wanna change my mind
Baby, let me change my mind
As I took those steps
Toward that open door
Knowing all the time
Oh, Lord, I just didn't wanna go
But she didn't give me no sign
Nothing that would make me change my mind
I would like to start all over again."

Honking solos by Terry would climb into the stratosphere and the saxophone shriek would punctuate the cutting edge of the solo. Terry would sing a verse and then call "OK Johnny" and a hot solo would drive us. Another verse and then "Git it Kid" would give us another wild solo. And all the while the rhythm guitar would be rock solid and Fly Brooks’ bass would keep the bottom with extra sudden fast fills. Fly was looking as animated as I’ve seen him, swinging his bass, and moving around.

At the Break I got to talk with lots of people. Everybody was going for a big serving of Hanck and double guitar. The break was a good one for talking, lots of blues friends and a happy crowd.


The last set was Blues about as good as it gets in a club. Driving and infectious, with James Brown and Junior Walker tunes played the Hanck Way, and instrumental work hotter than a pistol. Younger patrons who might not have seen something like this seemed entranced, totally focussed on the band. Blues regulars were out on the floor for almost every song. It was a "I’m so glad I went" night. At the end the band didn’t even consider not doing an encore. The crowd mostly went up to the bandstand to shake hands with the band. This was one of the good nights where the band has too much fun. Terry’s new CD is due out at the end of June ’05.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 02:51 PM | Comments (1)

School Night Gigs!!

Yeah, we went out for a couple of "school night" shows. They were alright. I think it might be lack of sleep of that effects my judgement, I'm not sure.

Steve Freund (The Ivy Room, 5/31/05)was good but the venue filled with a chill. It was down right cold in there! I couldn't strug it off although I tried.
Even dancing wasn't gettin' rid of this chill!
Aaah well....

Steve would play two long sets of nuthin' but guitar...guitar....guitar!!
I was told that he did his last set first and since I can't stay for the last set ever, I was thankful.
Scott Brenton is just so darn good and especially that harp playing!!
I have missed the gang of musicians that play with Freund.

Went to hear Little Johnny and the Giants lastnight (Thursday night6/2/05) at the Saloon.
Was not one of his better nights. As a matter of fact...Is everything Ok, Jonny?
There were some great grooves found but that guitar was not on on this night.
Maybe it was the band backing him, I'm not sure. It just wasn't clicking.
Robi Bean(regular drummer) was surely missed. Not every bassist or drummer can make a "Giant". A good Giant must fill in lots of space. It is a trio after all.
Had a disagreement with someone that said,"Hey, all's he needs is some of my rhythm guitar backing him......"

I don't think so!!
Little Jonny and the Giants is kinda like Ron Hacker and the Hacksaws- A trio and that's that!
There should NEVER be a fourth if the band is right.

Little Jonny is so awesome all the time that lastnight has me worried.
Hope all is well.

Tonight? Terry Hanck. Got a few people for this one and it should be fun.

Off to work....
mo

Posted by Mo at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

Hanck & Hack!!! 6/3/05

It's been quite a week of blues for me.
Two school night gigs that were so-so, but lastnight was the best!!

We have a new member on the roadtrip gang and I wanted her to hear, and see, a couple of my favorites. She's a dancin' fool such as myself so it's a welcome edition to the crew.
So the plan was to hit The Ivy room,in Albany, for Terry Hanck.

I didn't see until later in the afternoon that Ron Hacker and his Hacksaws were gonna be at Ashkenaz just down the road from The Ivy Room.
This changed everything!!
I emailed, and called, the interested roadtrip members and told them my change of plans.
I wasn't worried if they liked the idea or not, but I was worried about telling them the cover-$13!!
I have no problem with this, it's a small price to support a favorite of mine, but I was concerned for Dee who lives on next to nuthin'.
I'll make it up to her. If I had it on me, I would've paid right then and there but I purposely didn't bring more than I needed for two covers.

Hack and the real Hacksaws were in the house. AJ on bass and Ronnie Smith on drums.
Speaking of trios....
no one can fill in for either of these
Hacksaws.
They are so tight together. They are one.
I was having so much fun on that huge beautiful dance floor. Ron was up to many of his tricks on those guitars.
I do have to admit that nuthin' beats Hacker in a smaller venue where the sound is better but still....it was great!
The Saloon (SF's North Beach)is the best place to catch them.

I told the crew we would make it to Terry Hanck around 11pm. Shoot, they didn't start there 'til 10pm.
I was having a blast even in spite of the pressure I was feeling from the sidelines.
I was saying to myself that right after this song, we'll go. A couple of people in the crew I was with, were sitting impatiently on the sides waiting and it was getting annoying. Only one would at least act like they were enjoying it.
As I glanced over, I was signaled, (The ol' pointing to the watch signal) that it was time to go.
This did not sit well with me. After that song, and going into "Backdoor Man", I was approached on the dance floor, in my space, that it was after eleven and time to go. This did not sit well with me and I ignored it and tried to enjoy the last song.
No one ever TELLS me nuthin'!
Shoot, my husband even knows better!!
It was reaffirmed lastnight that I am a loner and I do need some time alone where I don't need to worry about others. I am tired of trying to accommodate others all the time and I especially don't like someone trying to control me.

I was gettin' ready to go off when I started feeling bad for twisting their arms, making them go with me and having them pay a high cover after promising a reasonable night with Hanck.
If it weren't for the others, I would've stayed with Hack the whole night just out of stubbornness.
That kind of put a damper on my night. At least I thought so until I got in front of that band of Hanck's!
Sandwiched between two awesome guitars (Johnny Cat and Chris "The Kid" Anderson) and then Terry's sax coming up the middle, it was ecstasy!!
Johnny and Kid can do some amazing things together. I really like listening to Johnny and the role he's taken over from the Kid.
He is now playing all the parts I'm used to hearing the Kid do. Johnny is doing an awesome job and sounds better than ever.
Terry sounded great and had all those wonderful sax solos that were over the top. Some of his best sax I've heard in awhile from him.
And his singing is what I love the best. Can't wait for his new CD.
One awesome show. One of the best from Hanck that I've heard, ever.

So, my bluesin' is done for awhile. Our oldest Son is coming home from Arizona for a couple of weeks and I'm staying home to hang with the family. Youngest graduating from High School too.
We are proud parents and even during these stressful and financially strapped times finishing these kids off, we look at eachother and pat eachother on the back for what great kids we have.
It's really cool watching, waiting, and seeing what they're becoming as adults getting ready to go out there in the real world.

Talk to ya in a couple of weeks.....
Mo



Posted by Mo at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

June 02, 2005

Steve Freund at The Ivy Room, Albany, CA; 5/31/05

"This is one of those trips that just happen." "I wouldn’t have gone if you hadn’t." "I brought along Little Johnny Taylor." "I needed to get out." "I worked hard today." "I’m gonna be a wreck working tomorrow." "I need some blues." "Ya know, I shouldn’t have gone out tonight, but I want some guitar." "Wonder who’ll be there tonight."

So over Sonoma’s golden rolling hills in the fading dusk and down into central suburban Marin Co. to San Pablo Straight and the Richmond Bridge. Then the fast ride through the Richmond Bayside warehouses and oil depots to the Albany flats and The Ivy Room in all its pre-world-war Buster Keaton friendly dumpiness.

Little Johnny Taylor with the great unknown Arthur Wright wailing on guitar, was on the van’s CD player and turned up loud for the really good ones.

"I'm gonna find me, lord I've got to find me a part time love
I've got to find me; I've got to find me a part time love
The next time, the next time my baby leaves me

That's why, that's why I've got to find me, Lord I've go to find me a part time love
The next time, the next time, the next time my baby leave me,
Can't you see I got to have me a part time love."

"He testifies! Man, what a voice!" "Sure can hear the Church." "Voice like that’s a gift from God."

In the excitement of a hot turn over Little Johnny calls out, "There's one other thing I wanna tell you right here:" and the band drops down into a steady horn vamp—And Little Johnny testifies!

"People in the cemetery, them ain’t all alone
Some turn to dust, and some have bone
I'd rather be dead, six feet in my grave
Than to live lonely, each and every day
She came home this morning; I asked her where had she been?
She said don't ask me no questions Daddy, ‘cause I'll be leaving again."

Usually we stop at Happy Donuts after an Ivy Room show, but having had a fast trip and time to kill we got coffee. For some reason the donut shops of the Bay Area are mostly run by Cambodians, usually pretty interesting people. We saw this was true early and the odd customers who drift in off San Pablo Ave. were already there. Good coffee.

Arriving in the Ivy Room parking lot we found it empty. "Huhh, a real hot night, yessir." Having several minutes to kill we hung in the parking lot. The sodium vapor lights hinted at water vapor in the air with their glare and the view across San Pablo Ave. at the old brick storefronts was slightly surreal. Mo and I started laughing. "Our weirdest one yet, there’s no one here."

With the sound of the music we went in. It really was empty, with only a few regulars. On stage was Robi Bean on drums, Scott Brenton on guitar, Burton Wynn on his first gig out of the hospital on bass, and Steve Freund on guitar. Steve had his gold top Les Paul strapped on and was pushing out powerful licks. I was glad to see the gold top; he always really gets into heavy guitar with it.

Inside every musician lives the music hero wanting to get out. Guitar players are particularly bad, we all want to be ‘guit-tar hero’, the dream lives! You saxophone and piano players out there tut-tuting hush up, y’all got it just as bad. "As the crowd goes wild! Amaze your friends! Get girls!"

I didn’t take any notes; I was there for some strong guitar playing. I got it. Steve having few in the house and none of the musicians lined up to guest on stage redialed his amp and set it on ‘stun.’ Steve looked right at Mo and me, knowing us by sight, shrugged his strap more comfortably, and played for us and for the house. Hot song after song with great leads leapt out of his amp; every song was a solo. Classics like "Hideaway" were jumped on with gusto rather than the weak feeling of old chestnuts.

The bad orange light bulbs and dark shadows hide the varnished plywood décor of the Ivy Room, with one orange bulb hanging down on a cord over the musicians. This makes cool reflections off the musicians and the instruments.

Steve began to play harder and harder and turned up his amp at least twice resulting in a hunted look by the back line. Steve began to prance from one leg to the other as he got into his solos. Songs from all over came at us with a ton of guitar. Great long solos they were too. With no guests to think about Steve became Guitar Hero (visualizing the cape became no problem at all) and his body language became animated as steady Scot Brenton watched him while playing rock steady rhythm on his big 335. Scot’s occasional solos were woody-toned and sonorous. Words don’t carry solos of increasing emotion and expression; Steve was released and in charge and he was going for it.

In the second set he switched to a Elitist Les Paul which had a harder, fiery sound good for lots of screaming licks and moving diads up and down the fingerboard. The solos became even more wild and Steve was really rocking back and forth as he became more animated. Strings were getting bent hard and the upper part of the fingerboard getting a workout.

Well into the second set, Steve at the end of a hot song breathed deep, looked up and called up Pierre LeCorre of the Dave Matthews Blues Band for a couple of numbers. Poker-faced Pierre played Steve’s guitar while Steve sang. Pierre seemed to have fun on rhythm and with his solos and sounded good.

As Steve became even more animated in the last part of the set and his body language as he played became very energetic and almost abandoned. He was truly excited in the most natural way in total guitar release.

My body language was the opposite as the recent long days caught up with me and I began to fade. We were both out on our feet and it was time to go. In an off weekday night we had one of those shows blues hounds talk about, the unexpected and hot show in a semi-empty house. A show played for the sake of the blues and for the love of playing, for the guitar player inside.

For those with a good connection here's an mP3 of Steve playing live on a fund raiser for radio station KKUP.

Posted by Rolfyboy6 at 12:53 PM | Comments (1)